Chapter 7: The Spirit Fix Pt 2
I saw her cross the street at Lexington and Dim. Behind her, a green mist formed and seemed to follow her as she walked like a cat on the prowl.
I was on that side of town collecting a few scores for Mickey and his boys. Okay, okay. You don’t have to remind me that the entire Donaldson family died a very bloody and violent death five years ago when Skeeter Sanchez had six of his men gun down everyone at Mickey’s house, including his ninety-year-old mother and his wife, kids, and the three goons who were his brothers. It all happened on New Year’s Eve, a party Mickey was throwing.
The Donaldson family ran this town. Sanchez took over.
Then he died when the Yo family hid a bomb under his Escalade. Then Yo and his crew died in a gunfight with the cops.
Supposedly, there were no more crime families in this city. Boy, was that a lie. They are still here.
And here I am collecting insurance money for them. Insurance that any living person and their loved ones would not come to harm through supernatural means.
And how did I get roped into this sort of thing?
I’ll explain that in a few.
But now, I have to say, as weird as it is being a runner for dead Mafioso, seeing a live person that resembles your dead lover is even weirder.
I couldn’t believe it.
I’ve been living with Maggie’s ghost for the better part of the year. She was murdered by her husband, who has the police force in his pocketbook. Maggie was everything to me. Her death had caused my self-appointed exile from demons, the supernatural, and any of that crazy shit. I find out later she’d cast a spell, creating a fake Connolly to murder her and be with me forever. At least her ghost told me that.
This woman had yellow hair, but I knew it was Maggie. She carried herself exactly like her. She wore long flowing dresses just as Maggie did.
And when I was close to her, walking on the sidewalk, I could smell apricots. She wore sunglasses, but when I bumped into her on purpose and knocked her purse out of my hands; she took them off.
Behind those piercing blue eyes, I saw Maggie.
The parting of the lips before she spoke, hand on her hips. She ripped into me.
“The hell is wrong with you?” She screamed at me as I bent down to retrieve her purse. “You act like you’re blind or something.”
“I’m sorry,” I told her. When I heard her voice, my heart fluttered. “I don’t know where my head is.”
“Give that to me!” She snatched her purse from me. “A fuckin’ thief for all I know.” She walked away toward an apartment building that was more idealistic for strung-out druggies than a woman looking like a woman who wore Vanessa Bruno dresses.
I couldn’t take my eyes off of her as she pushed her way through two young girls up those concrete stairs and into that building with chipped paint.
I took her wallet out of my coat pocket. I had stolen it from her purse when she was busy screaming at me. I opened it up and saw her driver’s license. Leni Marino was her name. According to the license, the building she entered was her home.
I stayed out in front of her building another half hour to see if she left. All I saw was two homeless men fight over a box of unfrozen fish sticks one of them had found in the garbage can.
I knew where I was going to be tomorrow morning.
I was asleep by the trash cans across the street from Leni’s apartment when some shook me awake. When my eyes adjusted to the bright street light, I found no one around. But I heard a voice.
“Wake the fuck up, Chambers.” The gruff voice said.
I sat up, looked around. “Who—?”
A force took hold of me and tossed me into the trash cans, knocking them over, littering the street in the process. I shook off the pain in my shoulders and head. I tried to stand and was struck on the chin. I fell hard on the concrete sidewalk.
I decided to stay put. I couldn’t see my opponent. Plus he was a lot better at fighting than I was.
Finally, they appeared.
Four men dressed in blue pinstripe suits standing from left to right, small to big, against a brick wall.
Four of the Donaldson brothers, Henry, Boyd, Dermott, and Sean. Sean, when he was alive, was the one to worry about. He didn’t give a shit about anything or anyone. Didn’t need a reason to pluck out your eyes.
“Where’s my money, Chambers?” Henry said. He was the smallest of the brothers, the oldest, and the one who ran the crew. Henry and I had run a few real estate scams a few years ago. We were doing okay until Boyd got too greasy with the money, invested in a crap game with the Lo family, which ultimately ended their human lifespans.
Boyd stood there, quietly smoking a cigarette.
“Surprised to see us, asshole?” Sean said and laughed, punching Dermott in the arm. Dermott rolled his eyes, tried hard not to say anything to start infighting.
“I’m sorry, guys. I missed the pickup. I’ll make it up to you. I swear.” I fumbled my words, slowly picking myself up.
Sean kicked me in the midsection and I fell to my knees, gasping for air. Sean burst into a fidgety laugh and belted me again with an open hand. It seemed the more he beat me, the more he got excited and the more he found my pain to be a cavalcade of comedy.
“Enough!” Henry ordered. Sean backed away, still giggling. He pushed Dermott out of his way. “You’re gonna go collect that money, Chambers and you’re gonna do it now. Or I’ll let Sean stick his tongue in your ear and taste your brains.”
“You let that dung head not pay this time. He thinks we’re soft and he can negotiate. No way, Jack. “Dermott said in an effeminate whisper. “Go to the club and get that dough, Chambers. If he refuses, we’ll know, and you can be sure, Dougie won’t be running the poon club anymore.”
“Okay, Dermott,” I said and tried to stand, wheezing. “I’m really sorry, Henry.”
“Yeah…you miss another payoff and you really will be sorry!” Henry said. He faded out, then one by one, his brothers were gone.
I went to the Pleasure Palace on Hyde Street. Talk about seedy. I always hate going to Hyde, you’ve got people literally sleeping in the middle of intersections. When I decided to walk away from everything, live on the streets, I made damn sure I stayed away from Hyde. There are other reasons, too. It seems something, or someone, has been snatching homeless or even those that are lost. I heard a rumor it was a shadow of some sort. It swallows you whole, spits you out, and leaves your bones in a pile of puke in an empty alley.
Nope. Don’t wanna go out like that.
Smoke filled the place, and the smell of Pine-Sol invaded my burning nostrils. I guess you have to keep a strip joint clean, although I’ve been to places where you have to step over a guy puking his brains out just to get inside.
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